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Home >> The 464th in WWII >> For Our Morale >> History of the 464th BG, in Rhyme

For Our Morale

History of the 464th Bombardment Group (H)
From Activation-Until VE-Day, in Rhyme

by Maurice C. Kieling, Captain A. C. Asst. Group S-2
Organization And Training

On July the first
Nineteen forty three
A new bomb group entered
The U.S. Army.

The 464th Heavy
It was to be known
It was destined to be great
And win renown.

At Gowan Field, Idaho,
Was assigned first personnel
From there on out
They trained like hell.

First at AAFSAT
In Florida's heat.
Then to Pocatello
Where they were to meet.

The cadre of crews
And ground personnel
Things were organized quickly
And started off well.

Ground school and flying
Became daily routine
With rumors as usual
Direct from the latrine.

Thru November, December
Nineteen forty three
It got colder and colder
Believe you me.

January ended
Everyone in a furor
It wouldn't be long
Till we went to war.

Ground Movement Overseas

On the 9th of February
In the snow and slush
We boarded troop trains
Without confusion or fuss

It was cold, oh so cold
Across the states
The men all longed
For female bunk mates.

At Camp Patrick Henry
In the sunny south ???
We spent several days
Getting fitted out.

The first to leave
For foreign duty
Was headquarters detachment
And were they snooty.

The 778th Squadron
Came along too
There were many mixed feelings
When the boat's whistle blew.

February twenty second
Washington's birthday
We boarded a Liberty
And sailed away.

Other squadrons
Mostly ground crews
Followed at intervals
Of a week or two.

Those Liberty Ships
Were very slow
A good many men
Had to stay below.

Poker and reading
And eating Corned Willie
When the waves rolled high
Some of us felt - silly.

After seventeen days
Of nothing but water
Out of the mists
Loomed the Rock Of Gibralter.

Quickly in order
Came Oran and Algiers
Then Sicily and Brendisi
There were many cheers.

It seemed so good
To get back on land
No rocking--no swaying
Oh boy it was grand.

Then into G.I. trucks
For our unknown destination
All in all it was
Quite a sensation.

We craned our necks
To look at the towns
And at every stop
The kids made the rounds.

Cigar-etto Joe ?
Chocko-Lat Pliz ?
Little scrawny kids
Hardly up to your knees.

We drove and drove
Roads dusty and rough
It's a darn good thing
That our fannies were tough.

On 20th March
In late afternoon
We arrived at our hill
All ready to swoon.

Making Camp

The hill was pretty
All covered with trees
Not a tent in sight
With an ice cold breeze.

Tents were pitched hurridly
Both yon and hither
We jumped into our cots
And continued to shiver.

Work was started at once
To make us a camp
But with rain and snow
It was cold and damp.

Mess tent was set up
So we could eat
Standing up with our mess kit
In the company street.

Latrines were dug
Tents moved again
Camp had to be ready
When the planes came in.

The 465th Group
Beat us to the punch
They got a hill with buildings
All grouped in a bunch.

Barns and sheds
They quickly converted
Into office and quarters
While we reverted

Back to nature.
But it wasn't too bad
No hot water for shaving
Or baths to be had

Slit trenches for latrines
On the edge of the camp
With rain and snow
It was kinda damp.

We had snow that was black
Believe it or not
Illusions of 'sunny Italy'
Had gone on to pot.

Camp was laid out
Headquarters set up
Work went on
Without a let up.

Work went on
And progress was steady
By the end of April
The camp was ready

Movement Of Air Echelon

After the ground crews
Left Pocatello, Idaho,
It continued cold
With plenty of snow.

On February 21st
The planes took to air
To Lincoln Army Air Base
Leaving Pocatello so fair.

After staging, inspection
And getting new clothes
Their stay in the states
Drew to a close.

By single crews
They left one by one
For Morrison Field
In the land of the sun.

To Puerto Rico
And Natal, Brazil
Stopped at British New Guinea
Their gas tanks to fill.

In the Brazilian jungle
Two ships were lost
Five men were killed
T'was a disheartening loss.

One pilot bailed his crew
And not withstanding
The hazards of a crash
Made a good belly landing.

They ran out of gas
And the weather was bad
To lose these good men
Was indeed very sad.

Navigators started sweating
As they approached Natal
For the South Atlantic
Was no Erie Canal.

They were on the ball
All during this flight
They all hit Africa
The very same night.

Everyone made it
On this long hop
They were tired and happy
As they rolled to a stop.

Then on to Oudna
Army Air Base
There were greetings and shouts
It had been a close race.

Soon boots blossomed out
On the feet of the crews
The Arabs and merchants
Soon got the good news.

The 464th
Had finally arrived
Their business picked up
And really thrived.

The first plane landed
On the ninth of March
Training started again
And it was harsh.

Large formations
And over the sea
High altitude bombing
It was no pink tea.

One crew was lost
On a training flight
They went into a spin
T'was not a nice sight.

On April the 20th
They headed to sea
For the Army Air Base
At Gioia-Italy.

Planes were stripped down
And guns overhauled
The Germans didn't know
They were soon to be mauled.

On 30th of April
Nineteen forty four
Our planes took off
With a mighty roar.

To bomb the enemy
At Castel Maggoire
That he started the war
He soon would be sorry.

This first mission of ours
Wasn't so hot
But by God we've started
And that means a lot.

We had lots to learn
As we soon found
But we would do better
In the second round.

May 1944

Eighteen missions
In May forty four
For a green new group
Who could ask more?

We dropped 1,016 tons
Of TNT
That's a lot of bombs
Believe you me.

Oil refineries
Supply and troop concentrations
A/C factories and M/Y
Of the Axis Nations.

The Luftwaffe stuck out
Its hairy chin
Our gunners let go
And knocked it back in.

Thirteen destroyed
And probables ten
Five more damaged
By our good men

On our second mission
We lost our Deputy C.O.
In an air collision
With the enemy below.

Lt. Colonel
Sylvan D. Hand
Is a prisoner of war
In enemy land.

Two aircraft accidents
Cost us ships and men
Two aircraft were lost
Men killed totalled ten.

115 men missing on
Combat crews
For a brand new group
That was very bad news.

Lt. Colonel McKenna
New Deputy C.O.
Was a darn good flyer
And nice to know.

From Gioia to Pantenella
We moved in a hurry
At the end of the month
Without fuss or flurry.

At last, long last
The Group was together
Morale went up
And conditions were better.

June 1944

In the month of June
We had thirteen missions
Devoted time to training
To become better technicians.

729 tons
We dropped on Fritz
On most all of our targets
We got good hits.

Our gunners again
Made a nice score
Enemy aircraft went down
When our guns started to roar.

Fifteen destroyed
And four probably down
Seven damaged by gosh
Our boys went to town.

Three accidents marred
Our record for June
No injured or killed
Which was a great boon.

Eighty six men
Were missing in action
Eight more were killed
But we had the satisfaction

Of seventeen men
Returned to the base
To fight Hitler again
And his super race.

On June 26th
On a mission very rough
Over Vienna
A target that's rough

We lost Colonel Bonner
Our original Group C.O.
He went down fighting
That much we do know.

Another good man
Was lost that day
Major Thomas Carter
We're sorry to say.

The loss of these men
Was a serious blow
Both were real officers
And a pleasure to know.

On 30th of June
Colonel A. L. Schroeder
Moved out to our Group
And promptly took over.

He was quiet at first
Till he got the lay of the land
Then things started to snap
To beat the band.

Enlisted mens clubs
Were beginning to rise
Also the officers
They were all the same size.

Up came morale
Venereal Disease went down
Men stayed on the base
And kept out of town.

We got our share
Of medals galore
But watch us next month
We'll get lots more.

Thirty seven Purple Hearts
And four D.F.C.s,
409 Air Medals
One Silver Star, if you please.

Two months of combat
Are now under our belt
From now on out
Our weight will be felt.

The Axis Powers
Are on the down grade
We'll help them along
With many a raid.

July 1944

Roumania, Hungary
Germany and France
Italy and Austria
All got hit in the pants.

Eighteen missions
1,307 tons
Of fire and fury
We dropped on the Huns.

Oil, communications
Airdromes and such
Targets Herr Hitler boasted
We never could touch.

A field day was had
By our gunners and crews
Adolphe felt bad
When he heard the news.

Twenty six destroyed
And five were damaged
Twenty probables
Adolphes air force was ravaged.

180 men missing
Our losses were high
Eighteen aircraft gone
In the month of July.

27 men previously missing
Returned to this group
About escape and evasion
Air Force got some good poop.

Major Harold E. Blehm
777th C.O.
Went down over Ploesti
He will be missed we all know.

We were lucky this month
On airplane crashes
No one was hurt
But we had two smashes.

Venereal Disease
Went down once more
The medics were happy
And the girls were sore.

Morale was good
In spite of the losses
From the P.F.C.s
To the highest bosses.

We passed out medals
By the score
In view of the number
It was quite a chore.

Twenty four Purple Hearts
488 clusters
212 air medals
For dropping block busters.

One Silver Star
Fifteen D.F.C.s
Some have enough medals
To reach down to their knees.

A small thin boy
Whose name is Drake
Was the first in the group
Fifty missions to make.

Captain Raymond W.
(Herkey) Drake is his name
By his fine record
Received much acclaim.

We had some visitors
Out at this base
Generals Eaker and Spaatz
Looked over our place.

Six clubs were opened
For officers and enlisted men
It's no exaggerated statement
We'll all enjoy them.

The Chaplain decided
To build a real church
Cause the briefing tent
Did sway and lurch.

The tent had holes
And made it leak
And you couldn't hear
The Chaplain speak.

He figured twelve hundred
Dollars would do
To build a church
For me and you.

He asked for the funds
On the pay day line
The results?You guessed it.
They were really fine.

Twenty eight hundred dollars
Was the final take
What a nice church
That much would make.

At last, long last
In response to our tears
The briefing room was started
By the engineers.

Ten million maps
And target charts
Operating in tents
Just broke our hearts.

Dust, sweat and tears
Will be a thing of the past
If they hurry and build it
And do it real fast.

Trips to rest camps
And also to Rome
Pleased everybody
And fits into this poem.

Tufa block houses
Started to rise
We'll be here all winter
We all surmise.

Special Services put out
The weekly "Bomb Blast"
The four hundred copies
Were sold out fast.

July was successful
We accomplished our aim
Knock the hell out of Hitler
He'll get more of the same.


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This poem was reproduced with the permission of Richard Bird.
It is and was originally posted on his web site at birdsnest.com

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